Case of the Week: Brexit Does Not Facilitate Freezing Orders

olg-frankfurt-ganz-neu2In my opinion, obtaining a freezing order (Arrest) against the debtor pending final judgment tends to be rather difficult in this jurisdiction. Often, the courts set the bar for showing that “the enforcement of the judgment would be frustrated or be significantly more difficult”, as Section 917 German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) puts it, frustratingly high. It is somewhat easier if the debtor is situated abroad: Section 917 para. 2 ZPO stipulates that it is sufficient grounds for a freezing order if the judgment would have to be enforced abroad and there is no reciprocity with the foreign jurisdiction (Arrestgrund der Auslandsvollstreckung). As there is reciprocity across all member states of the European Union, this does not work, however, with respect to a debtor situated in the United Kingdom – at least for now.

In a recent case in the Frankfurt Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht), the applicant was seeking a freezing order against a German national who had moved to the United Kingdom. The applicant argued that given the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and given that a final judgment would not be in place prior to the current Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019, the reciprocity exemption should not apply to the United Kingdom. Accordingly the freezing order should be granted pursuant to Section 917 para. 2 ZPO.

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Greek Debt Crises Reaches Federal Supreme Court

Coat_of_arms_of_Greece_svgGerman investors in Greek government bonds have sued the Hellenic Republic in German courts over losses suffered as a result of the restructuring of their bonds. The Greek debt restructuring which triggered this litigation took place in March 2012. Greek bonds were exchanged for new bonds with lower principal, lower interest rates and longer maturity, resulting in a haircut for investors. A large majority of investors accepted the swap, but some investors did not, and went to court. Continue reading

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Frankfurt Court of Appeals Upholds BIT Arbitration Clause Again – Eureko v. Slovak Republic, 2nd Round

We have covered these proceedings between the Slovak Republic and Eureko, a Dutch health insurance provider before. At the heart of the matter is the issue whether European law rendered arbitration clauses in intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs), that is, in BITs between EU member states, inapplicable. To the best of my knowledge these are the first court proceedings addressing the issue: In May 2012, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals upheld an arbitral award that ruled on jurisdiction and arbitrability and held that the tribunal had authority to hear damages claims by Eureko against the Slovak Republic under the Netherlands/Czechoslovakia BIT of 1991. Continue reading

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Pre-trial Discovery of Documents under the Hague Evidence Convention – Germany’s Position Is Softening!

You read it here first – Germany’s position on the discovery of documents may be softening. My first post on the topic was triggered by a May 2013 decision of the Frankfurt Court of Appeals, setting aside a surprising decision by the Central Authority for the State of Hesse. It came with a question mark: Is Germany’s position softening? But now, the Federal Ministry of Justice (Bundesjustizministerium) is reconsidering Germany’s position.

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